No need to restrict breastfeeding before or after COVID-19 vaccination: Experts

Written By: Sidharth MP WION Web Team
CHENNAI Published: Aug 09, 2021, 10:12 PM(IST)

COVID-19 vaccine not to be given to moms who are breastfeeding. Pictures: Reuters Photograph:( WION Web Team )

Story highlights

Experts emphasised the need to have front-line community workers assist and counsel women and families to clear any myths and misconceptions that may exist in regard of infant care amid the pandemic.

On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week (first week of August), experts from various organisations highlighted the importance of breastfeeding and addressed concerns related to breastfeeding, COVID vaccination for expectant mothers, etc.

Pointing out that breastfeeding is the foundation of life, experts went on to say that, breastmilk is the first and best defense a newborn has against illness, disease, and death since it is their first vaccination.

"It optimally helps prevent malnutrition in all of its forms, with long-term benefits for both children and mothers. Breastfed babies have a reduced risk of non-communicable illnesses as adults and are more likely to have a higher IQ. Breastfeeding additionally improves the mother-infant bond while lowering the mother's risk of, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and ovarian and breast cancer, " it  said.

According to Dr Mangala Wani, President BPNI (Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India) Maharashtra, "Until now, Covid-19 infection has not been found in breast milk. Therefore, new mothers can breastfeed their babies even if they are suffering from Covid infection. It is entirely safe to do so." However, she cautions that wearing masks, following hand and respiratory hygiene should be maintained to prevent infection via talking, coughing and sneezing.

Regarding vaccination of pregnant women, experts say it has been approved based on the recommendations of the NTAGI (National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation). Under the condition that(pregnant women) are informed about the risk of COVID-19 exposure, as well as the risks and benefits associated with COVID-19 vaccines.

"There is no need to restrict or modify breastfeeding schedules before or after vaccination and even during mild common adverse effects like fever and unwell feeling. Evidence shows that the advantages of breastfeeding exceed the dangers of transmission," says Dr. Ketan Bharadva, Chairperson of IYCF (Infant and Young Child Feeding). He adds that antibodies present in breastmilk may aid in the battle against COVID-19 if a newborn is exposed.

Experts emphasised the need to have front-line community workers assist and counsel women and families to clear any myths and misconceptions that may exist in regard of infant care amid the pandemic.

Read in App